By: Gemma Fagan (@gcfagan86)
When the Pittsburgh Penguins last played the Winnipeg Jets they were lucky to skate away with the shootout victory 4-3.
The last time these two teams met the Pens were in the midst of a 6 game winning streak and were firing on all cylinders, this time around in the second game of the season series against the Jets things couldn’t be more polar opposite for the Pittsburgh team, they lost their fourth game in a row against the visiting Chicago Blackhawks 3-4(SO) leading into the All-star break.
With the Pens season hitting turbulence the last thing they needed to hear was that Captain Sidney Crosby would be sitting out of the Winnipeg clash due to a lower body injury and that the team’s top goal scorer Evgeni Malkin had been place on IR on Monday, the Russian centre man is also suffering with an undisclosed lower body injury.
However some good news did come on Monday, Defencemen Kris Letang was on the ice for the team’s practise at CONSOL, the French Canadian has been sidelined since sustaining an injury after being hit from behind by Philadelphia’s residential goon Zac Rinaldo. Indications where made that there is possibility of him returning to the line-up on Tuesday however if he is not able to return it means the Pens will be without their top three points scores for the game. (Oh joy)
Swedish winger Patric Hornqvist was also in attendance at practise, he is not scheduled to play Tuesday night however his return is imminent and His name should appear back in the line-up every soon.
With the injury tally count on the rise the Pens have recalled players from Wilkes-barre/Scranton, Forwards Andrew Ebbett, Scott Wilson, Bryan Rust and Defenseman Scott Harrington.
The visiting Jets however aren’t suffering with such woes, they have successfully notched up five straight wins heading into the All-star break and over the course of the streak they have managed a 4.20 goal average. The Pens defence will need to find a way to shut down Dustin Byfuglien, the All-Star has managed to bag himself 9 points in his last 7 games.
While the odds are in favour of the home team, the past 10 times the two teams have met the Pens have come out on top on 8 occasions (8-2-1) but with a recent decline in form it definitely won’t be walk in the Park for the skating Penguins.